Instant Rewards in Investment Casting

Reaffirming the ingenuity and beauty of components imagined, engineered, and realized in metal.

The beauty of metalcasting is that it allows our eyes to see a single moment, the moment that a fluid took solid form and remained there, captured for eternity — and simultaneously in that moment preserving the work of craftsmen, realizing the vision of designers, and fulfilling the need of untold numbers of users. This is especially true for investment castings, which frequently exhibit fine details and extensive geometric variety in a single form.

Again this year the Investment Casting Institute staged a competition among its members to identify the best work of the preceding year, works that succeed not only by the aesthetic achievement but equally (or, more important) by the function they serve. The award-winning designs for ICI’s 15th Casting Design Contest were announced at the 63rd Annual ICI Technical Conference & Expo, in Columbus, OH.

The annual contest also expresses the necessity of investment casting in industry and society.  After all, investment casters are the segment of the metalcasting industry that gives the highest emphasis to product design. Often, it is the possibility for complexity and virtuosity in investment casting that gives metalcasting an edge over welding, extrusion, or precision machining. In an age when design is gaining new relevance, with the prevalence of CAE and CAD, and the emergence of additive manufacturing, the investment casters are carrying a message for the rest of their metalcasting cohort: we can accomplish as much, now.

With this annual contest, ICI helps project a message of versatility by recognizing designs for products developed for different industrial and commercial applications — aerospace, defense, fine art, etc. Thus, the scope of investment casting’s applications are highlighted and celebrated.

In addition, the winning castings project the unity and precision of design that merely hints at the depth of engineering skill involved in linking the performance requirements to the material qualities available via the various alloys, and the design flexibility of the investment casting process.

And, of course, there is the beauty — some of which is in the eye of the beholder. If you’re an engine designer, you’ll see the value of thin walls and heat-dissipating materials. If you’re a vehicle or machine designer, you’ll appreciate the unity of forms and the simplicity of functions. And, of course, if you’re a metalcaster, you’ll see the timelessness of human ingenuity, earthly materials, and physical energy joined forever in a unique, and award-winning, investment cast part.

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